Rename Beach ‘Synthetic Featherbed Rocks’, PETA Asks Seaham Mayor

For Immediate Release:

14 January 2015


Hannah Levitt +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 235; [email protected]


Animal Rights Group Wants to Point Out the Cruelty Between the Sheets With Unusual Proposal

Seaham, County Durham – Today, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) – an affiliate of PETA US, the world’s largest animal rights organisation – sent a letter to Mayor of Seaham Councillor Bruce Burn with an unusual request. The group wants Burn to change the name of Featherbed Rocks, a rocky beach located near Seaham, to “Synthetic Featherbed Rocks”. PETA hopes its proposal will highlight to County Durham residents that with all the warm and cosy options available, compassionate people can sleep easy knowing that there’s no excuse for mutilating geese and ducks just to stuff a duvet.

“In order to produce down bedding, birds are often pinned down or lifted by their necks or a delicate wing and have their feathers painfully ripped out while they are alive and able to feel pain”, says PETA Director Mimi Bekhechi. “Changing Featherbed Rocks’ name to ‘Synthetic Featherbed Rocks’ would remind the good people of County Durham that a good night’s sleep for us doesn’t have to be a nightmare for ducks and geese.”

As seen in PETA US’ video exposé of the down industry, narrated by Hollywood actor Alicia Silverstone, live-plucking causes birds considerable pain and distress. Many birds are plucked so hard that they are left with gaping wounds, which workers sew back together using a needle and thread, often without any painkillers whatsoever. Some birds are left paralysed by pain and fear, and some even die as a result of this violent process. The down industry also supports producers of foie gras – which is made by forcing tubes down the throats of geese and ducks and pumping grain into their stomachs until their livers become enlarged and diseased – as the feathers of many of the birds on foie gras farms are sold for down.

People who want to help birds suffering in the down industry can refuse to buy down products and can look for clothing and bedding made from cruelty-free materials instead. They can also visit to send a powerful message to the cruel down industry.

For more information, please visit


PETA’s letter to the Mayor of Seaham follows.

The Honourable B Burn

Mayor of Seaham

14 January 2015

Via e-mail: [email protected]

Dear Mayor Burn,

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) with an idea that would put Seaham in the spotlight while promoting cruelty-free habits among residents: rename Featherbed Rocks “Synthetic Featherbed Rocks”.

Many people aren’t fully aware of the cruelty inflicted on animals at the hands of the down feather industry. Down is the soft layer of feathers closest to birds’ skin, primarily in the chest region. These feathers are highly valued by manufacturers of down clothing and comforters because they don’t have quills. While most down and other feathers are removed from ducks and geese during slaughter, birds in breeding flocks and those raised for meat and foie gras may be plucked repeatedly while they’re still alive.

As highlighted in PETA US’ video exposé of the down industry, plucking causes geese and ducks considerable pain and distress. Typically, they are lifted by their necks or delicate wings, their legs are physically restrained or tied and their feathers are ripped right out of their skin. The struggling birds are often plucked so hard that their skin is torn open, and the hurried workers then sew up the wounds using a needle and thread and no painkillers. Plucking may begin when the animals are just 10 weeks old and be repeated in six-week intervals until the birds are slaughtered for meat long before they would naturally die.

Producers of foie gras often boost their profits by selling the feathers of force-fed ducks and geese. These birds already have to endure having tubes rammed down their throats and their stomachs pumped full of so much corn mush that their livers swell to about 10 times their normal size, which is how foie gras is made.

Modern synthetic fibres that are durable, light, packable, machine-washable and, best of all, Earth- and goose-friendly are available on every high street and are often cheaper to boot.

With interest in vegan living at an all-time high, it’s the perfect time to change this popular beach’s name from something which signifies cruelty to birds to a name which reminds people around the county that we all can have a good night’s sleep without supporting a nightmare scenario for ducks and geese.

Please let me know of your decision.

Sincerely yours,

Mimi Bekhechi